Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Hominids – Erich

In our travels, we stopped at Burgos, Spain. Burgos is the home of the Museum of Human Evolution. (Actually in Spanish, the initials are MEH. But we didn't find the museum meh at all.)

In the village of Atapuerca, which is very near Burgos, there are many caves. This is due to the geology of the land. It is a karst terrain that has been carved out by water from above and by underground rivers.

In these systems of caves, many early hominids lived. Now that area is an active archaeological site, and has been for nearly fifty years. More fossils of early human ancestors and more artifacts of early human ancestors have been found in this site than anywhere else in the world.

The MEH has a floor dedicated to talking about these caves and of what was found in them. Many of the famous finds are now housed in the museum. Several species lived in and used these caves over many millennia. These include the more recent visitors: Homo heidelbergensis and Homo neanderthalus, as well as a much more ancient species, Australopithecus antecessor.

In addition to their exhibition on the finds of Atapuerca, the museum also explained evolution based on natural selection, genetic theory, and had a wonderful timeline of major steps in evolution from the beginning of life to life on land to the amniotic egg to bipedalism (and many others in between) that led to hominids and even Homo sapiens.

Plus there were detailed descriptions and a life size mannequin of many different hominid species. This included both those that were found at Atapuerca, and those that were not.

We enjoyed the Museum of Human Evolution very much. And Burgos itself is an interesting city. It has a very straight river (I wonder if humans evolved the banks to make it so straight) that runs right down its middle. And the main avenue is on both sides of the river. Traffic in one direction is along one bank, and traffic in the other is along the other bank.
A river runs through it
Plus they have some cool old architecture and a variety of public art works. As for the architecture, well, they don't make them like they used to.

And for the art, some of it clearly plays on the human evolution scene.

Others seem to play more on the hobbit evolution theme.

There's an idea. The Museum of Hobbit Evolution. Who's with me?

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